A man accused of kidnapping a 4-year-old Charleston girl and taking her to Alabama is expected to plead guilty, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.
Thomas Lawton Evans, 37, appeared in U.S. District Court in Charleston for a brief hearing during which Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told a judge that Evans will enter a plea. Williams asked that a hearing be scheduled for September, but a date was not immediately set.
Evans is charged with kidnapping, transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity and aggravated sexual abuse.
The Post and Courier does not name victims of sex crimes or their family members.
Authorities said Evans randomly targeted a woman and her children as they returned to their Johns Island home on Feb. 13. Charleston police said Evans beat and sexually assaulted the woman before fleeing with her 4-year-old daughter.
The girl was rescued the following day in Alabama, where railroad workers spotted her inside a parked car with Evans, who was asleep.
Evans drove off in the stolen car but was captured soon after in Mississippi.
Evans also faces seven charges in state court stemming from the kidnapping and the assault on the girl's mother.
He was released from a state prison on community supervision in the Upstate less than two weeks before the abduction.
Two days before the kidnapping, he was spotted in Berkeley County with his girlfriend's car. The whereabouts of the car owner, 39-year-old Sharon Hayden of Boiling Springs, remain unclear.